Restraining Impulse, Embracing Grace

10.22.20 Leave a comment

In the current climate of almost daily confrontations with words of division, unusual declarations, limiting of personal freedoms, etc., etc., there’s a part in most every one of us that wants to react with our impulse. Impulse is not necessarily right or wrong, but it is more a trait of our natural life than our spiritual identity. If we choose to act on every impulse, more often than not we end up regretting our comments or actions because they don’t reflect the deepest part of our heart and convictions.

When I read about a prominent spiritual leader taking a position that I find contradictory to what I believe are biblical values, my impulse is to immediately try to express my disagreement or perhaps disappointment directly with that individual. (At a much more mundane level, it’s the same thing that causes us to honk our car horns or shake our fist if somebody sneaks in and grabs the parking spot we’ve been waiting for.)

We’re accustomed to seeing impulse in a small child, they simply have not grown up to the place of making reasoned decisions, but over time it becomes disastrous in a man or a woman.

Perhaps one of the most dramatic illustrations of this was the actions of Moses in Exodus 2:11 & ff. When he saw the oppression of his people and felt certain that he was called to be a deliverer he acted in impulsive indignation and started to right their wrongs. He took the life of the oppressor and then tried to hide his violent act. The Lord did not allow this to stand and it took Moses 40 years of quiet separation in the dessert to feed sheep and learn to commune with God.

I pray that nothing so harsh would ever befall any of us, but remember that God had enormous plans of multi-millennial redemptive significance. (His ultimate actions to deliver the people from the slavery of Egypt were the foreshadowing of Jesus delivering us from the slavery of our sin.)

Rather than act in impulse, we need to pray and to covet the possibility that our first reactions and responses to circumstances and situations can be that of the grace of God. Grace is not the exoneration of immoral or unethical or improper behavior; rather, it is recognizing that God alone has the power to change the heart of the people who are engaged in such practices. It’s the grace of God that would cause us to pray for the people that we see who are trafficking in narratives that are based on lies or manipulations of information, whether they be personal, political or even spiritual.

When we have matured to the place where our natural response is not one of impulse, but one of recognizing that the key to understanding what’s going on in any situation is to really know and discern the truth behind what is being said and not simply the sanitized version that may be controlled in such a way as to advance a particular narrative.

The truth is a very powerful and liberating gift from God. Jesus said in John 8:32 that “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” He was certainly speaking of His own identity and the freedom that knowing Him personally brings to our lives, but He was also referencing the fact that truth comes from God and anything that distorts or manipulates or disguises the truth is only for evil intent and always results in negative consequences.

It is by grace that we open the pipeline to flowing in the wisdom of truth in every circumstance. When we have a sense of what God’s truth is we are able to respond not out of natural impulse, but out of a sense of humility and immediate intercessory prayer for that individual, that institution, organization or entity to be set free from the deception under which they have fallen. This is a much more powerful way to correct the abuse that such deception brings about. This is how people are set free from bondage and blindness and it is the most powerful way that we can make a difference in every circumstance of our daily lives.

So as you go through your day, resist the temptation to act on your first impulse; rather, whisper a prayer for God’s grace to reveal to you the truth about that particular situation and that will set you free as well as all of those around you.


Pastor Jay

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